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China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 11:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has a protectionist plan and a shared agenda (not just tactics) with Battistelli, who significantly lowered patent quality for the sake of raw quantity

Pooh the Bear and EPOSummary: China now targets other Asian countries/firms — more so than Western firms — with patent lawsuits; we expect this to get worse in years to come

KOREAN giant Samsung, which employs an extraordinary number of people, has traditionally been one of the top patenters (if not the top patenter, e.g. in 2012) at the EPO and USPTO, not just KIPO. Sure, it fell behind LG (the ‘other’ South Korean giant) this past year at the EPO, for whatever reason (we don’t want to speculate).

“China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live).”Samsung, at least traditionally, is not patent-aggressive. In other words, it rarely sues anyone except if sued first. The same is said about Korean culture in general. Some time ago China began assaulting LG with patents — to the point where LG withdrew/pulled a lot of its business out of China. Samsung too came under many attacks in China and then it retaliated, even in the US. The latest in this retaliation? Florian Müller reports on the injunction against Huawei (highly CPC-connected firm):

A few days ago, Law360.com reported that United States District Judge William H. Orrick (Northern District of California) expressed an inclination at a Wednesday hearing to grant Samsung’s motion seeking to bar Huawei from enforcing a couple of Chinese patent injunctions before the U.S. court has determined whether it is, in light of its FRAND obligations, entitled to injunctive relief.

You won’t be surprised if you’ve been following the case here. Two weeks ago I published a post here with a headline that contained the following prognosis: “antisuit injunction looms large”

Even though I’m just a little blogger, it’s a bit daring to offer such a prediction based on the briefing record, especially since antisuit (here, actually just anti-enforcement) injunctions don’t come down every day. But for the reasons explained in my previous posts, above all Ninth Circuit case law, Huawei won’t be able to complain.

China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live). A few days ago Managing IP wrote:

Big changes to the intellectual property office, including combining the enforcement functions of trade marks and patents, are expected to strengthen IP enforcement in China

Managing IP speaks of “administrative overlap” at SIPO. The main issue with SIPO, however, is not “administrative overlap” but really low patent quality which already causes patent trolls to soar there and few large Chinese firms (which can afford to fight trolls in court) to merely consolidate power.

“…expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents.”China isn’t what patent maximalists claim it to be (we wrote many rebuttals to that effect recently) and the number of granted patents says little about innovation. Chinese patents at European and American patent offices are basically the ‘best of Mandarin’ (SIPO patents translated, sometimes with help from foreign workers). Those are the patents that are probably actually worth something.

Either way, expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents. They know that trade sanctions are imminent (if not already in tact, e.g. tariffs), so it’s a form of deterrent or counterattack.


Judge Koh, Famous for Her Apple/Samsung Rulings, Pours Cold Water on Haptic Technology Patents While China is Sought as Alternative Litigation Venue by Iancu-Connected Immersion

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Judge Lucy Koh

Summary: Judge Lucy Koh, an American judge with Korean heritage, throws out patent claims on haptic feedback approaches and Samsung, Korea’s largest technology firm, is being dragged to court in China over haptic feedback approaches

THE USPTO is getting tougher on patents. The courts even more so. Just because something had been granted as a patent and was later used in a lawsuit (even successfully) does not mean that PTAB or court judges will blindly accept the claims. They’ll investigate further. Burden of proof is on the applicant/assignee/claimant.

With all the mobile or “smart” hype, which includes haptic techniques, it’s not surprising that few firms look for a ‘jackpot’, knowing that there are billions of devices out there and thus possibly a lot in ‘damages’. If they get lucky…

Andrei IancuDays ago Patently-O wrote about Fitbit’s patent challenge, noting that Immersion’s patents are not that good. We wrote about this case before and noted that Immersion is connected to Microsoft as well as the USPTO’s new Director [1, 2]. Appointing this man who is connected to Trump professionally was a colossal mistake, but it’s too late to change that. Either way, “[o]n 12(b)(6) motion for dismiss, Judge Koh has thrown out some of Immersion’s asserted claims covering various haptic feedback approaches,” Patently-O wrote.

How does Apple feel about it now? Immersion does nothing but patent lawsuits these days; what does that make it?

So guess what Immersion is doing. It’s suing Samsung in China as well as at the Eastern District of Texas:

A US technology company has said Samsung’s touchscreen products including the Galaxy S8 infringe patents related to haptic (touch interaction) technology.

Immersion announced its lawsuits against the South Korean electronics company yesterday, March 8. They were filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division and the Fuzhou Intermediate Court in China.

Considering the fate of Immersion’s patent aggression, one might think this new lawsuit in the US will go pretty much nowhere:

Leap Motion Hit with Patent Infringement Lawsuit from Same Company Suing Meta


Patent holder Genedics, LLC has filed a legal complaint alleging that hand-tracking startup Leap Motion is infringing on its intellectual property.

As its name suggests, it’s little more than a parasite looking for a buck. It does not even have a Web site, just a bunch of lawsuits with its name on them.


Software Patent Lawsuits Against Large Technology Firms/Corporations Should Ideally Fail and Result in Invalidation of the Patents

Posted in America, Asia, Google, Patents, Samsung at 5:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Otherwise more litigation targets (victims) will be found and shaken down

A boardroom

Summary: The culture of patent disputes in the US is changing, but some high-profile patent lawsuits are still happening (even in China) irrespective of the merit of allegations and said patents; software patents should never even show up in a courtroom anymore

EACH time the USPTO grants a patent in error it may result in an erroneous lawsuit/s from which only lawyers will gain. They profit from litigation, no matter the outcome and whose side (defendant or plaintiff). It is grotesque and disturbing to think that such people are actively attempting to steer patent systems and policies. It’s like putting manufacturers of weapons in charge of foreign policy.

“Following dismissal of plaintiff’s invalidity,” this Docket Report said last week, the “plaintiff’s litigation positions and tactics were unreasonable.”

It looks like the accused (defendant) is going to get compensated for the trouble, but either way, law firms on both sides will be victorious (financially):

Following dismissal of plaintiff’s invalidity and unenforceability claims for lack of standing and failure to state a claim, the court granted defendants’ motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff’s litigation positions and tactics were unreasonable.

Last weekend we wrote about rules which are good for patent trolls because too little burden of proof is on the accuser/claimant. This new post by Peter Keros elaborates on it: “Only a few factual allegations are required to survive a Motion to Dismiss a complaint alleging patent infringement, held the Southern District of Florida in Raptor, LLC. and Concrete Services, LLC. v. Odebrecht Construction, Inc. and Barreiro Construction Corp., NO. 17-21509-CIV-ALTONAGA (S.D. Fla. Feb. 13, 2018).”

Making it earlier to sue isn’t a positive thing.

A Canadian patent troll, WiLAN, is at it again. It targets Android devices:

In a 135-page complaint, WiLAN subsidiary IPA Technologies Inc. said that Google Assistant, the voice-activated personal assistant app, and other programs infringed six patents that it acquired from SRI International Inc. in May 2016.


IPA launched an initial round of lawsuits against Dell, HP Inc., Toshiba America Inc., Acer Inc., ASUS Computer International in October 2016, about five months after it acquired the patents. All of those suits were settled within weeks of their filing.

Patent trolls’ supporters who really hate Google, the EFF and professors seem rather happy to support the troll. Not too surprisingly.

Huawei, which uses Android, is also suing other Android vendors. Did Huawei make a sensible decision by suing Samsung? It’s usually those two brands which dominate the Android market (depending on country/segment) and still vie for the leadership/crown.

“Huawei may have overplayed its hand in Samsung patent dispute,” according to a post from this morning. Here’s why:

Procedural sophistication is a virtue, especially in cross-jurisdictional litigation. But in the event Judge William H. Orrick grants Samsung the antisuit (technically, just temporary anti-enforcement) injunction it is seeking against Huawei in the Northern District of California (in order to prevent the enforcement of a couple of Chinese patent injunctions), the world-class Chinese Android device maker and experienced patent litigant has no one to blame but itself–for excessive procedural gamesmanship of the kind that is all too obvious to (federal) judges. Should Judge Orrick find Huawei’s attics “vexatious and oppressive,” one of the three Unterweser antisuit injunction factors (a set of factors from the Fifth Circuit that the Ninth Circuit also applies) would be met, and someone who brings claims only to seek an immediate stay of some of them does appear to be suing for the sake of suing.


While Samsung used to take different positions five years ago (an eternity in this industry) and is doing what any other defendant would do in its situation (seeking to put obstacles in Huawei’s way, such as by firstly requiring an actual liability finding prior to a rate-setting decision, and by requiring country-by-country resolution of liability), Huawei’s opposition appears fundamentally weaker to me than Samsung’s motion. It wouldn’t have been hard for Huawei to avoid a situation in which one can reasonably find its procedural tactics “vexatious and oppressive,” and Huawei could have chosen to keep certain issues out of the U.S. case or at least to file the U.S. case after the Chinese ones. It has made its bed and must now lie in it. I believe Samsung’s motion will succeed–if not in district court, than in the Ninth Circuit.

“Samsung Hit with $4.3M Verdict in Image Editing Patent Suit,” noted another person, who linked to this new decision.

They are very happy because the defendant was a large company. The usual bashing of large technology companies is almost understandable. Watchtroll’s latest instance of it is rather revealing. These lawyers and trolls (and “professional writers” whom they hire) don’t care at all about technology, only how to tax, destroy, and sue over it. The biggest payouts come from large technology companies.

We are not supportive of large technology companies, but we support than a lot more than we’d ever support parasitic law firms and patent trolls. In fact, just because some companies have deep pockets does not necessarily mean we should be happy to see it shelling out money for ‘protection’ from lawsuit; whenever that happens it merely sponsors and strengthens the trolls, who might then be emboldened to shake down smaller and much more vulnerable firms. Ideally, in cases like the above, patents will be challenged and if they are software patents, for instance, then they should be invalidated. All the above certainly sound like software patents (voice recognition, image editing and so on).


Apple Discovers That Its Patent Disputes Are a Losing Battle Which Only Lawyers Win (Profit From)

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Playing cardsRelated: In Apple/Samsung Patent Lawsuits Over Android/Linux, Only Patent Lawyers Are Winning (Again)

Summary: By pouring a lot of money and energy into the ‘litigation card’ Apple lost focus and it’s also losing some key cases, as its patents are simply not strong enough

THE USPTO can grant however many patents it wants, but judges are under no obligation to honour these patents. As scholars recently noted, many patents are granted erroneously in order to inflate patent numbers (this became a problem at the EPO as well in recent years).

Yesterday we stumbled upon this new report from a reliable news site which said:

A federal judge handed a minor but significant legal defeat to Apple in its long-simmering patent dispute with Samsung on Thursday evening.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh agreed with Samsung that the South Korea smartphone manufacturer owes Apple about $6.4 million, but not the ongoing royalties to which Apple claimed it was entitled.

The order only settles a sliver of the overall patent fight, parts of which have climbed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is about software patents and the award is without a shadow of a doubt exceeded by the legal bills; things become a lot more expensive when these cases reach the US Supreme Court — something which may happen for design patents [1, 2]. As explained here yesterday, “patent experts [are] concerned about legal uncertainty surrounding design patent damages” in Apple v Samsung. Matt Levy, who used to write for CCIA, shows up again:

An Apple v. Samsung–far from the first, to put it that way–will be held in three months. The Engine panel discussion was not exactly a trial preview. The perspective was very high-level, including an outlook (by Matt Levy) as to what might happen after the trial. Mr. Levy believes the Federal Circuit will again take an exceedingly patentee-friendly position, and the Supreme Court will have to correct it again.

Nobody on the panel appeared to believe that the 19th-century unapportioned-disgorgement rule in 35 U.S.C. § 289 is appropriate with respect to today’s multifaceted technology products. However, the focus of the panel wasn’t on advocating new legislation, though the subject did come up. It was more about the high degree of uncertainty surrounding not just the Apple v. Samsung re-retrial but presenting an issue to the industry at large.


Mr. Duan explained that design patent litigation isn’t nearly as widespread as software patent litigation, but depending on what happens in Apple v. Samsung and other design patent damages cases, design patents could give rise to many lawsuits by patent trolls in the not too distant future.

Without a doubt, industry groups are concerned about the lack of legal certainty. One of the questions from the audience (toward the end of the YouTube video) came from the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA).

As we pointed out earlier this month, SIIA supports PTAB. The above people are interested in improved patent quality.


The Patent Trolls’ Lobby, IAM, Does Puff Pieces for GE’s Patent Litigation Arm (Soon to Keynote IAM Event)

Posted in America, Deception, Patents, Samsung at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Biased IAM’s Editor in Chief Goes on the Offensive Against (Software) Patent Sceptics, Still a Trolls Denialist

Thomas Edison Was a “Patent Troll”
Reference: Thomas Edison Was a “Patent Troll” (composed by a proponent of patent trolls)

Summary: GE (growingly a troll-like entity, akin to IBM) and Samsung (frequent target of patent trolls) as covered by IAM, which is for the most part funded by patent aggressors and trolls in order to popularise their misleading narrative

THE US patent system, still awash with patent trolls, increasingly repels these trolls. The USPTO and the courts have become a lot tougher on them.

“The cuts are noticeable and some patent trolls close down ‘shop’ (they don’t actually have shops; they create and sell nothing).”Do not expect the patent microcosm to view that as a positive development as that makes the patent microcosm more and more obsolete. The cuts are noticeable and some patent trolls close down ‘shop’ (they don’t actually have shops; they create and sell nothing).

A short while ago somebody posted that same old worship of Thomas Edison, who was a businessman disguised as an ‘inventor’ (his business was cracking down on actual inventors). “11 February 1847,” it said. “Thomas Edison was born in Ohio. He’s been described as ‘America’s greatest inventor’.”

“GE is part of this event, so it gets to post puff pieces in IAM while IAM defends Edison (GE).”He was not an inventor, he just ‘stole’ or took credit for other people’s work and then patented that work.

IAM then responded with: “If Edison were alive now he’d be called a patent troll.”

“He was,” I told IAM. “But GE (with which Thomas Edison is sometimes synonymous) pays IAM now. So you’ll whitewash this troll.”

IAM has this new upcoming event sponsored by trolls like Sisvel, Finjan, and Finjan’s sponsor Microsoft (among many others). Earlier today IAM did a puff piece for GE Ventures, notably by giving a platform to the “licensing head” (patent parasite). GE’s relationship with IAM is better explained at the very end of this puff piece, which admits that this author is a “keynote speaker at [IAM's] IPBC Global in San Francisco on 11th June.”

“Samsung does not seem to be paying IAM. Why, after all, would a victim of so many lawsuits pay a proponent of such lawsuits?”GE is part of this event, so it gets to post puff pieces in IAM while IAM defends Edison (GE). Edison mythology is one of those mythologies that serve to prove money buys history (or victors write it). It was only hours ago that we wrote about IAM doing something similar with Finnegan and yesterday (less than 24 hours ago) we wrote about it doing the same with Battistelli. That’s just their business model.

The other day IAM wrote about Samsung’s history of being the target of the most lawsuits (“Teva takes top spot from Samsung as the most targeted defendant in patent litigation in 2017″), citing the Lex Machina data which we mentioned earlier today. To quote: “The numbers come courtesy of Lex Machina’s annual review of patent litigation, which is the data analytics platform’s deep dive into the headline litigation numbers for 2017. While the ranking of most targeted companies featured a typical blend of tech giants including Apple, LG, Amazon, ZTE, Microsoft and Huawei, there was a significant jump in the number of pharma companies on the list as nine made this year’s ranking (up from four last year). [...] Lex Machina’s analysis does go into even greater detail including a look at the profound impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland which has seen a huge chunk of cases that might have previously been filed in the Eastern District of Texas move to other districts such as Delaware.”

Samsung does not seem to be paying IAM. Why, after all, would a victim of so many lawsuits pay a proponent of such lawsuits? Watchtroll also wrote about Samsung earlier today, noting that some no-name parasite “filed [a patent lawsuit] in the Eastern District of Texas, alleg[ing] that wireless charging technologies incorporated by Samsung into their Galaxy S7 and S8 product lines copies technology which was presented to them by NuCurrent under the terms of a confidentiality agreement.”

“IAM itself is funded by quite a few patent trolls.”Samsung has many patents of its own (even some new ones mentioned in the news), but it rarely ever sues anyone. It’s not quite a Korean tradition (patent aggression). In any event, one must learn to dintinguish between companies that create things (Samsung makes a lot of things) and firms that have nothing but lawsuits associated with activity. Xperi was described as a “licensing company” some days ago by IAM. When IAM uses that term it typically means “troll”, but this term does not exist in IAM’s lexicon. IAM itself is funded by quite a few patent trolls.


China’s Patent Policy Helps Chinese Oligarchs and Creates a Large Litigation ‘Industry’ Which Protects the Oligarchy

Posted in Asia, Patents, Samsung at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oligarchs in China

Summary: An analysis of the latest news and views from China, where patent protectionism is on the rise not in the name of innovation but protectionism for colossal state-connected firms such as Huawei

THE UNITED STATES is quite likely the most powerful country in the world in terms of military might and economic might. Sure, China’s military is bigger by some criteria and its growing GDP (not per capita) is a growing threat to US dominance. China now yields more academic papers than the US and there’s a plethora of other measures by which the US is declining compared to China (as well as many other countries). What we do not like, however, is how patent maximalists blame US decline on patent rationality and a much saner patent policy. They try to latch onto reports about US demise and frame these as ‘evidence’ of patent law needing a change. There’s a lot more to the US than this; the USPTO isn’t the pillar on which the US was built. In fact, the US as a powerful country predates the USPTO.

Yesterday at IP Watch Steven Seidenberg wrote about the case of WesternGeco (WesternGeco LLC v ION Geophysical Corp. to be more specific). “On January 12,” he explained, “the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could produce a major change in US patent law, with effects reaching far beyond America’s borders. At issue in WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp. is whether and when a US patent owner can collect infringement damages on a global basis.” The headline, “US May Extend Its Patent Damages Worldwide,” is a good outline as it’s all about damages, not scope. Our prediction is that this will be a split decision. As we explained before, it barely matters to us because we have always been focused on patent scope. A lot of patent pundits use this case for China-baiting. We have actually grown rather disgusted by their obsession with China as they often use China as the catch-all excuse for any lobbying agenda they may have. They have been doing it for over a year. Intellectual dishonesty for one’s wallet is so commonplace that Richard from IAM wrote a few days ago: “The emergence of a professional IP class in China is going to have a big impact on IP value creation in the coming years – i suspect we’ll be learning a lot…”

“What you mean by “professional IP class” is a bunch of patent lawyers enabling ruin in China,” I told him. I actually meant it. Another patent maximalist who links to IAM said: “The Chinese IP market continues to grow! http://www.iam-media.com/blog/Detail.aspx?g=8798408e-b309-456f-b5ab-9d81e42e2c2b …”

“You mean Chinese LITIGATION ‘market’ (that you profit from),” I told him. He is already based in China. Watch what IAM published some days ago: “China’s continued trademark reforms”

The patent microcosm, including patent extortionists such as Microsoft, links to IAM quite a lot. IAM is like their lobbying group or propaganda mill.

Found via the above person (from China) was this new report about how China suppresses Korean phone giants using patents. “Samsung understands the power of injunctions in China patent cases,” he said, “and Samsung does not respect the Chinese courts.”

LG recently left the country, which leaves only one South Korean giant in China. To quote the report:

Samsung asked a California federal judge Thursday to block Chinese smartphone maker Huawei from enforcing an injunction it won in China last month ordering Samsung to stop making or selling devices that infringe two Huawei patents found to be essential to industry standards for 4G wireless technology.

The Chinese injunction, Samsung said, is nothing more than an improper attempt at gaining leverage to force it to license standard-essential patents, or SEPs, on Huawei’s preferred terms.

We wrote about it roughly a week ago; what we’re seeing here is China using patents just like it uses its censorship policy. It’s a convenient pretext for sanctioning/blocking foreign companies — a subject which received plenty of press coverage last year. Here is what IAM wrote about it:

Samsung Electronics is asking a federal judge in California to stop Huawei from enforcing an SEP injunction it won in China earlier this year. In doing so, the Korean company has given an indication of when that order might actually come into effect – and revealed the significant business disruption that it could entail inside and outside of China.

The Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court announced an injunction against Samsung on 11th January. It found that two patents asserted by Huawei were infringed, essential to the 4G standard and that Samsung had violated FRAND principles by “maliciously delaying talks”. The two cases were filed on 25th May 2016. One day earlier, Huawei had sued Samsung over some of the same SEP families in the Northern District of California. That is where Samsung is now trying to put the brakes on the Shenzhen injunction.

As we showed some days ago, the lion’s share of patent litigation in China comes from Chinese companies; it’s very different from what we see in other large economies. What’s also interesting is the extent to which this patent policy helps Chinese giants — not small companies — and thus enriches Chinese oligarchs (typically connected to the CPC).

Watch what just happened to Wuxi Shangji Automation: Just what a relatively small business needs? More litigation? “Meyer Burger goes to Chinese court for patent infringement,” the headline says. It’s from 3 days ago:

The Swiss PV equipment manufacturer has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in China against Wuxi Shangji Automation Co, Ltd. for the protection of its patented wire winding system for the cutting of solar wafers, the Diamond Wire Management System (DWMS).

It’s one of those rare cases where a lawsuit is filed in a Chinese court by a foreign company.

We are still trying to figure out the logic behind China's relatively new patent policy, which is a full embrace of patent maximalism. Dennis Crouch recently cited this new paper titled “A Half-Century of Scholarship on the Chinese Intellectual Property System” in which, according to Crouch, the author “offers excellent guidance by focusing more on flow and transition rather than a snapshot.”

The abstract mentions RCEP (a Trojan horse for software patents) and gives some historical perspective:

The first modern Chinese intellectual property law was established in August 1982, offering protection to trademarks. Since then, China adopted the Patent Law in 1984, the Copyright Law in 1990 and the Anti-Unfair Competition Law in 1993. In December 2001, China became a member of the World Trade Organization, assuming obligations under the TRIPS Agreement. In the past decade, the country has also actively participated in bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade negotiations, including the development of the RCEP.

The above is just a short outline of some of the latest information we have about China. A lot of it is actually misinformation from patent maximalists who, as we shall show in the next post, seek to exploit China to justify an expansion of patent maximalism in the US. They already lobby Iancu along those lines.


Patent Litigation in East Asia: Huawei, Samsung, HTC, Nintendo and COLOPL

Posted in Asia, Patents, Samsung at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A street

Summary: A quick look at some high-profile cases in which large Asian firms are embroiled; it seems clear that litigation activities have shifted eastwards (where actual production is done)

THE patent trolls are down for the count in the US. Litigation is down, especially in their favourite venue (where cases fell by more than half). This impacts not only trolls but any company which relies mostly/only on litigation rather than production.

The media which cheers for patent trolls (usually funded by patent trolls too) has begun looking eastwards. Sometimes it’s even moving eastwards and hiring there. They attempt to adapt in order to survive.

Watchtroll, as usual, tries to malign defendants; in this one post it claims that Samsung was — in the context of the Chinese legal system — “Maliciously Delaying Negotiations”. We wrote about this earlier this month and did not see such an accusation. “Observers believe a case in which Samsung was found to infringe Huawei’s SEP patents is helpful in determining what is misconduct in FRAND negotiations and a sign the Chinese judicial system is resolving increasingly more complicated and new IP disputes,” Karry Lai wrote from Hong Kong (for Managing IP). Well, FRAND itself can be viewed as a form of “misconduct” or at least injustice. Perhaps Samsung has a legitimate explanation/side/role in this story.

Staying around Asia (although in US courts such as CAFC), in Taiwan we have HTC coming under attack again (from a rather obscure entity called Advanced Video Technologies). In the words of Patent Docs:

One of the most important (if not the most important) inquiries in performing due diligence involving acquisition of a patent portfolio is ensuring that the entity asserting ownership of the patents actually has proper title (in what can be a complex chain, starting with the inventors). This is particularly true in view of the position taken by the Federal Circuit that even one inventor, who has not assigned her rights, can prevent the other inventors or their assignee from bringing suit as being an indispensible party, and that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not permit that recalcitrant inventor from being involuntarily joined. The failure to make sure that the chain of title was intact led a district court to grant defendants’ motion to dismiss, in Advanced Video Technologies LLC v HTC Corp., a decision the Federal Circuit affirmed last week.

All these sorts of ‘nuisance’ lawsuits have over time shifted to Asia, especially China and Singapore. As for Japan? Or Korea? They aren’t quite as overzealous with their patent laws.

Further north (to Taiwan) and over in Japan, the main English-speaking media is adoring patents again. In reality, it’s their products (e.g. cars) and not their patents which make the Japanese prosper. But to IAM writers this misleading report is an adrenaline rush. Several patent maximalists link to it and this one says: “Impressive numbers, but usual caveat applies: most of these royalties are being paid from overseas subsidiaries to their parent companies in Japan, especially in the auto sector…”

IAM’s Jacob Schindler said that and he also said that “Nintendo’s first patent assertion in Japan sends rival’s share price plummeting,” reminding us of this lawsuit which might end up destroying a small company (using patents alone). To quote:

On January 10 2017, a Japanese mobile game company COLOPL announced that it got sued by Nintendo for patent infringement. Nintendo seeks JPY 4.4 billion (approximately $40 million) in damages and an injunction to stop operation of “Shiro Neko (White Cat) project” which is COLOPL’s most profitable smartphone game. Nintendo reportedly filed a lawsuit at Tokyo District Court on December 22 2017 after the negotiation for over a year since September 2016. This is the first time Nintendo has filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Japan. Nintendo alleges the COLOPL’s game infringes on Nintendo’s 5 patents relating to touch panel operation and other technologies.

We wrote about it last week. It’s not about software, but it puts in jeopardy a legitimate business.


Litigation Roundup: Nintendo, TiVo, Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Philips, UMC

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…And more legal actions are now being filed in China

The fortunes told

Summary: The latest high-profile legal battles, spanning a growing number of nations and increasingly representing a political shift as well

THE effort to keep abreast of litigation, except nuisance litigation from trolls, carries on. Yesterday we found this report about Nintendo using its sometimes notorious patents to sue a small company, Colopl. A popular gaming site wrote about it:

Nintendo is suing Japanese mobile games developer Colopl for allegedly infringing on five of the publisher’s patents.

This lawsuit could be interesting for indie developers worried about patent issues in their own work as well. As Siliconera reports, one of the patent complaints from Nintendo include “the special technology used to operate a joystick over a touch panel” which is featured in Colopl’s mobile title White Cat Project. The patent was supposedly originally filed in 2006 with regard to the Nintendo DS wrist strap.

The most media attention has been given to cases that involve one large company suing another. There were several such examples last week. TiVo is now bullying rivals (not a new thing) using patents; what’s noteworthy is that it’s done via subsidiaries. Averting/reducing risk of counteraction? See “Boston-based TiVo subsidiary sues Comcast for patent infringement”, “TiVo Hits Comcast With More Lawsuits Targeting X1″, “TiVo Sues Comcast Again, Alleging Operator’s X1 Infringes Eight Patents” and “TiVo Sues Comcast Again, Alleging Operator’s X1 Infringes Eight Patents”. Here are some details:

TiVo has launched a new legal attack on Comcast aimed a pushing the cable giant to reach a settlement to license TiVo-owned patents.

TiVo’s Rovi subsidiary on Wednesday filed two lawsuits in federal district courts, alleging Comcast’s X1 platform infringes eight TiVo-owned patents. That includes technology covering pausing and resuming shows on different devices; restarting live programming in progress; certain advanced DVR recording features; and advanced search and voice functionality.

One can only guess (it’s not hard) why the lawsuit comes from X1 and not from TiVo (directly).

There’s another patent lawsuit against another media company. Philips has just reminded us of its capacity as a patent bully (it has done this for decades). As Reuters put it:

A patent licensing company on Monday accused music-streaming service Spotify of infringing three patents originally granted to Dutch technology giant Philips.

Sisvel, an Italian intellectual property management firm, sued Spotify in U.S. District Court in Delaware, alleging infringement of three patents relating to methods of making music recommendations based on a user’s listening habits.

We wrote quite a lot about Sisvel. We have covered its actions, sometimes at the behest of Philips, for nearly a decade now. Sisvel is still around and it’s still vicious. They’re behaving like the Mafia at times. What’s interesting is that they’re European and there aren’t many trolls in Europe. There are some, but not many. We hope to keep it that way. There are many activists here who oppose the UPC because they correctly perceive it as an open door to patent trolls. One of those activists is mentioned in this new article about his new game for iPhone. “Florian has fought for the open source movement and small software companies against software patents,” it says. That alludes to Florian Müller, who spent years of his busy life covering Apple/Samsung patent disputes. Here is the latest on that:

Apple, Samsung Continue Ongoing War Over Royalties

Another battle in Apple and Samsung’s seemingly ceaseless smartphone patent wars played out in front of a federal judge on Thursday, this one pertaining to Samsung’s redesigns following a jury verdict for Apple in 2014.

The patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, relates to the operation of quicklinks – a software program that allows users to prompt hyperlinks that can take them to a webpage, a different application platform or perform a function within an operating system.

“Each redesign consisted of only one or two minor changes,” Apple attorney Mark Selwyn told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh during the prolonged hearing that featured several back-and-forths between the two lawyers.

Speaking of Samsung, there was a lot of press coverage last week regarding Huawei winning a patent infringement lawsuit against it, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Many articles focused on political tensions associated with Huawei (e.g. [1, 2], but nearly all the major sites which cover patent matters focused on Huawei versus Samsung in China. What will be the ramifications for the Korean giant in China and elsewhere? As IAM put it the other day: “Big news out of China – Shenzhen court awards Huawei country’s first-ever injunction based on an “international SEP” in suit against Samsung [...] For China to become a major patent litigation venue, foreign plaintiffs will need to feel that the opposite – ie a Samsung injunction awarded against Huawei – would be equally as possible.”

“China may view this as a short-term competitive advantage, but sooner or later firms like Samsung may take their production out of mainland China (if not to avoid sanctions then purely as a form of economic retaliation). What would China be left with if manufacturing goes elsewhere? A pile of worthless patents and lots of law firms?”Well, “injunction” is a euphemism for embargo, either temporary or longterm/permanent. Who benefits from such sanctions? The same goes for the US, which has begun a sort of trade war with China over Huawei devices (cannot be bought from or even stocked by some of the largest carriers). Meanwhile in China, “UMC Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit against Micron,” based on a press release from the weekend.

As we’ve argued before, China seems to be emulating Texas and we don’t think that’s a good thing at all. China may view this as a short-term competitive advantage, but sooner or later firms like Samsung may take their production out of mainland China (if not to avoid sanctions then purely as a form of economic retaliation). What would China be left with if manufacturing goes elsewhere? A pile of worthless patents and lots of law firms? What made China attractive for many firms (for manufacturing at least) isn’t strong patent “protection” but perhaps the very opposite of that.

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